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Interview with Robert Escher

Robert Escher

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: March 2009

Robert Escher: Hey Brian howís it going today Rob from FREAKHOUSE

Brian Rademacher: Hey man whatís up?

Robert Escher: Everythingís going great

Brian Rademacher: Tell me a little about your youth

Robert Escher: I went to elementary school in Tucson, Arizona and then I moved back to Texas and went to High School in Clear Lake, which is outside of Houston. I went to a few different colleges. Then I moved to Austin, went to ACC there, andFreakhouse spent a little time at UT and thatís about it.

Brian Rademacher: How were you in school?

Robert Escher: Man, I did just enough to get by (laughing). I was definitely interested in other things. I think that stems from my dad being the dean at the University of Houston at Clear Lake graduate school. He is the person with the higher education and I kind of went the other way a little bit.

Brian Rademacher: What did you do after school?

Robert Escher: I played soccer for eighteen years. I wasnít big enough to play football. I played soccer all through school. I was on varsity the first year I played a little intercollegiate soccer and a couple menís league. I played mainly soccer and golf.

Brian Rademacher: When did you start your first garage band?

Robert Escher: In high school. Hell yeah, thatís where I got my first taste of it. I had a band called ALTAR, we played the traditional talent show in front of the whole high school and we played some gymnasiums for thirteen, fourteen fifteen year olds and thereís about 200 hundred little girls running around trying to rip the bandanas off my arms. I thought that was pretty cool.

Brian Rademacher: What are some of the songs you played?

Robert Escher: A lot of old school metal stuff, like some PRIEST, MAIDEN a little ANTHRAX in there, basically metal and hard rock bands like MOTLEY CRUE. ALTAR was my very first band.

Brian Rademacher: Do you remember the first concert you attended and did it have any impact on your music career?

Robert Escher: Absolutely, BLUE OYSTER CULT and CHEAP TRICK 1979. I will never forget that show I almost got crushed but I had the time of my life. I couldnít hear for a few days after that. I got pushed in front of the PA when CHEAP TRICK was playing and it was so loud. I would say it had a little bit of impact on my music, but not too much. I think the first time I saw VAN HALEN I said Oh My God everyone wants to be that. That left an indelible mark on my brain for sure.

Brian Rademacher: How about the first record or cassette you owned?

Robert Escher: The first record was KISS "Alive" and I still have that record to this day and my parents thought I was nuts. What are these men in make-up and spitting blood for and this and that? Back then, I thought it was the cool shit.

Brian Rademacher: Did you have any KISS collectibles?

Robert Escher: I had all the posters on my walls; KISS on top of the building in New York City, the big collogue poster four feet by six feet. I didnít have too many collectibles thatíFreakHouses my guitar playerís area and heís a big KISS fan too.

Brian Rademacher: The band name FREAKHOUSE came from the HBO series Creepshow, is that true?

Robert Escher: Actually it did. Tales from the Crypt was suppose to do a pilot that was called Freakhouse but it never ran and we kept waiting to see the show and it never did run. My drummer and I at the time said that would be a cool name and it just stuck, they didnít use it so we did. Like I say, everybodyís always welcome in the FREAKHOUSE.

Brian Rademacher: In the beginning days of the band was there any kind of concept to the band or did you just go out there and play hard?

Robert Escher: We used gas masks. In the beginning inception of FREAKHOUSE came the gas mask stage. In the very beginning we really werenít image conscious. We just wanted to write good songs, which we could pull off live and thatís all that matters to us, we didnít care what you can do in the studio, if you canít pull it off live you might as well not be doing it. The gas mask thing came when we turned a little industrial we wore black flight suits and mercenary hoods and gas masks. We would come out with the gas masks during the first song and then pull the gas masks off and have mercenary hoods and pull them off after the second song, so we got more into the image as we progressed as a band. You have to do something to get to the next level and inevitability we didnít continue to do that as SLIPKNOT kind of slipped in the door and they took that over (that style). So we stopped doing that and we stopped going in the industrial direction and so did our image.

Brian Rademacher: You took place in a program called Rock The ToyBox, toys for tots. Can you tell me about that?

Robert Escher: Yes, every year we are always involved in it and we are always part of it if we play or not we are there. Itís to raise money for less fortunate kids. Itís always a good thing to give back. If we play or not we always go and give a toy, itís not always the best toy because we give toy guns (both laughing), but we always give something. Itís always a cool vibe and everybodyís happy to be there.

Brian Rademacher: Yeah. our site is always into benefits. Matter of fact we have an Autism benefit coming up thatís being put on by Tattoo Tony, Bret Michaelís tat man and we have Uncle Frank helping and many others. Itís called Rock N Roll for Nick and being held at Tiki Stadium in Keansburg, New Jersey on April 5th.

Robert Escher: Right on man!

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about the first FREAKHOUSE EP "Subculture Revolution"?

Robert Escher: There were five tunes on that EP. We had a producer coming to Texas, we lived in Austin, and thatís where FREAKHOUSE startedÖ so we got a friend of ours who is in the band DANGEROUS TOYS (and we love their sound on one of their records) so we asked them who produced it; it was a guy named Tom Fletcher. We called him and being friends with Jason and the TOYS coned him into coming to Texas to do recording with us and thatís what came from it. "Subculture Revolution" is very hard to find now, hell I donít even know if I have a copy! I go to my parentís house every once in a while and they have it. They tell me we hide it on you because we know you will just give it away to somebody. I am always giving our stuff out; I want to share our music with everyone. The songs on there were right in the middle of our industrial trip and those songs reflect that. Itís FREAKHOUSE for sure.

Brian Rademacher: When you recorded your next CD "Beautiful Misery" did the musical style change?

Robert Escher: Yeah it had changed from industrial to rock and we moved out to L.A in 2000. It was time to relocate and progress and grow as a band, we got a new drummer in the band. We first had Virgil Donati who drummed with us for four years and heís a great friend to this day, heís made us better musicians and is a world class drummer, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to play with him. Having him join FREAKHOUSE changed it a little bit and made it easier for us to do things on a more technical level. Songs went into the more hard rock thing and it was natural. "Beautiful Misery" can measure up with any rock album out there, Iím proud of it.

Brian Rademacher: I listened and watched the video for "Liars Inc" and it has killer harmonies and Matt Clark did some kick as guitar work on there. Do you feel that was the strongest song on that release?

Robert Escher: I feel it was the strongest commercial track, it garnered us the most attention being installed on every new Dell computer that comes out and I think the chorus is fantastic and the guitar riff is outstanding and with those two elements you canít go wrong.

Brian Rademacher: Was that your personal favorite on "Beautiful Misery"?

Robert Escher: No, my favorite is the title track by far and away.

Brian Rademacher: Letís move on to the new self-titled CD that just came out. I congratulate you on that release as it blew me away. I like to review bands that I really donít know about because if that band has a few CDís out already and Iíve never heard about them and get a new CD that blows me away I have a chance to check out their past releases and see the change and development of their music. And the new FREAKHOUSE CD is an excellent release from start to finish. I feel elements of KISS but from track to track has a lot of diversity in it. You go from a heavy kick ass song to "Motion Sickness" and haunting instrumental and "Tommyís Revenge" and every song on that CD goes in a different direction, I really liked it. "Stitches" is like SYSTEM OF A DOWN and "No Way Down" has a heavier alternative sound like Billy Idol.

Robert Escher: What was your favorite track on that CD.

Robert Escher: I flip back and forth on that record. I love all the tracks and there is a lot of different diversity on the record because we love all different types of music and itís cool to pull from a lot of different sources and see what you can come up with but it always comes up FREAKHOUSE. I really love "Dream." I love that song. It has a great melody. I think my other favorite is "Dead on the Inside" because it has such a good chorus and I can feel it every time we play it live. I see the people singing back to me and the CD just came out so somebodyís listening to it.

Brian Rademacher: Thatís wild because before the interview I said to my wife check this band out and I played the video for "Dead On The Inside" for her. Then I went to my daughter Sara and she listened to "Dream," and you just mentioned both of those songs.

Robert Escher: Great minds think alike (laughing). Thatís cool, did your daughter Sara dig it

Brian Rademacher: Yeah, she did.

Robert Escher: Great great, Thatís our audience right there we gotta get those school kids digging it, not that I donít want your wife as a fan but with the kids digging it, it could only be a good thing.

Brian Rademacher: I thought "Motion Sickness" could be a good soundtrack for the Saw movies. What do you think?

Robert Escher: Yeah, yeah, you know Scott our bass player wrote that. Scott is a very eclectic dude. He has some great ideas but they are a little off the wall and sometimes itís hard to bring them to an actual song because theyíre so out there. He sat down with Warren Croyle CEO of Reality Entertainment and said we need some keyboard interlude on this record. So thatís what he came up with, I think they could have spent a little more time with the sequences of it because there is a couple of tracks on the CD that have keyboards on there. I think itís a beautiful piece that came out of Scottís heart and has a good vibe. Warren titled that song and thatís where "Tommyís Revenge" came from.

Brian Rademacher: You have two instrumentals on a rock CD, would you of rather have two more rock songs then the instrumentals?

Robert Escher: Iím alright with it now; I was a little weary with the placement of them on the CD. You know now since I listened to and gone away from it and worked on different stuff and I go back and listened to it again I think these were good ideas. A lot of bands donít do that anymore I said who cares weíre going to make another record anyway for sure. We might not do any instrumentals on the next record, but for this time it worked out.

Brian Rademacher: You also did two covers of RADIOHEADís "Creep" and SPONGEís "Plowed." Were there any other songs you were deciding on?

Robert Escher: You know we always look and look and look; itís always an ongoing process. We look for cool songs that will fit FREAKHOUSEís vibe and turn it into a FREAKHOUSE cover. You know the song and you know the words and music but we turn it into a FREAKHOUSE cover. Itís tough to find those songs. I dig RADIOHEAD and I think that song came out pretty well, SPONGE is not my favorite band and I wasnít into that as much but Matt was into that, so I think we did that one pretty well too.

Brian Rademacher: Doing the "Dead on the Inside" video was that a lot of fun?

Robert Escher: Actually it was a hell of a lot of fun. We are getting better and better at it. We do our videos ourselves. This time we are getting more and more efficient with it. A lot of that stuff was done with total individual takes, we do one person at a time, itís your day we do your part of the video that day and then the next day we do another member and it worked out really good. "Liars Inc" was hot in a big warehouse and we did group shots. That was a little tougher to pull off. Mattís a computer genius and he done us proud on those videos, I canít say enough about that.

Brian Rademacher: When you went to release the CD did the Reality Entertainment pick the song to push or did the band do that?

Robert Escher: It was actually a mutual agreement. I told them I want these two be the singles first and they agreed. So "Dead on the Inside" was first and "No Way Down" is second, we all agreed but itís not always that way, we butted heads with Warren on many things, itís not a bad thing, but the way things get done.

Brian Rademacher: So whatís the plan for the rest of the year?

Robert Escher: Well we are going to shoot the video for "No Way Down" and hopefully get on a tour in the summer or early fall.

Brian Rademacher: Were there any thoughts about playing Rocklahoma?

Robert Escher: We would love to play Rocklahoma but we havenít had any contact with those people. That is a kind of old school thing and thatís not a bad thing because we love all those bands. FREAKHOUSE is a modern rock band and we want to be a modern rock band and I donít want to step on anyoneís toes, but I rather play a show with PAPA ROACH or LINKIN PARK and some of those kinds of bands, but saying that I wouldnít mind playing to 50,000 fans.That doesnít suck and if we had the opportunity we would go and kick ass.

Brian Rademacher: In ending would you like to talk about anything we missed?

Robert Escher: I would like everyone to go to and would like to thank you for this opportunity and props to you guys at RockEyez for promoting music. You have to love music because itís not always easy. We appreciate your hard work and we work that hard too, itís kind of a thankless job in some instants the benefit will come. I always tell people every day I yank a clump of hair out of my head at every show and tell everybody how much we appreciate them and I mean it.

Brian Rademacher: Tell everyone in the band the new CD kicks ass and we congratulate them

Robert Escher: Thanks Brian, I guess we will see ya on tour. Both videos of Liars Inc and Dead on The Inside can be seen on the FREAKHOUSE MySpace and their official site


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